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Leinster & Munster get the better of Belgrade

Belgrade 0-1 Leinster & Munster
Ray Whelehan's goal after 52 minutes means three of the four sides in Group B can potentially reach the final in Sunday's deciders.

Leinster & Munster's Ray Whelehan celebrates scoring against Belgrade
Leinster & Munster's Ray Whelehan celebrates scoring against Belgrade ©Sportsfile

A 52nd-minute strike from Ray Whelehan further complicated matters in Group B, but both Leinster & Munster and Belgrade still have a chance of reaching next Tuesday's UEFA Regions' Cup final.

Leinster & Munster successfully stifled the threat of busy Belgrade midfielder Jovan Blagojević, and Jovica Milikić's team rarely had space to open up their canny opponents. Brendan O'Connell was at full stretch to push Stefan Dabetić's free-kick wide in the first half, and Stefan Stefanović was also on target from distance, but the Irish side crafted chances too, David Lacey heading the best of them at Uroš Milijković.

Dabetić nodded not too far wide with the interval looming, and Laurence Dunne fired just past the same upright after the break, following a neat headed pass from captain James Walsh. Leinster & Munster went ahead shortly afterwards, Whelehan racing on to Dunne's ball and skidding a low shot past the exposed Milijković. Ross Carrig then came close to scoring a second moments later, glancing a header narrowly off target.

Daniel Loughran fired straight at Milijković when well placed as Gerry Smith's men once more found space in the Belgrade box, with the Serbian side unable to find much room at the other end despite the frequent deployment of Goran Panić's throws. Whelehan brought Irish fans to their feet again with a spectacular strike which was palmed wide, while Walsh hit the top of the crossbar with a header from the resulting corner.

Dabetić forced O'Connell to make a low save late on, but the result never seemed in doubt. Leinster & Munster take on eliminated South Region Russia in their final game on Sunday, with Ankara up next for Belgrade.